When Joshua Kimmich was a Red Bull

Alexander Zorniger may have been forgotten by many following his fall from the spotlight after being sacked by VfB Stuttgart, but it was he who handed Joshua Kimmich his league debut back in September 2013 in the 3.Liga for RB Leipzig. Now he is a Bayern Munich and Germany world-class star, it is easy to forget that he started out with Bayern’s Bundesliga rivals back when they were rising from nothing.

This weekend sees RB Leipzig welcoming ‘old boy’ Kimmich back to the Red Bull Arena with die Roten Bullen trying to usurp Bayern as Germany’s top dogs.

Aside from the Rottweiler dog breed, the most famous thing to come out of the Baden-Württemberg town of Rottweil is surely Joshua Kimmich. However, after beginning his career in the youth ranks of first VfB Bösingen, then VfB Stuttgart, the youngster switched to the ‘project’ Rasenballsport Leipzig in 2013.

He was handed his league debut for RB Leipzig back in September in a midfield three alongside Dominik Kaiser and Henrik Ernst against 1FC Heidenheim in the 3.Liga. RB’s then-trainer Alexander Zorniger played Kimmich in midfield for the rest of that promotion-winning season and in the next campaign in Bundesliga II.

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Overall, Kimmich played 53 league games in Saxony scoring three goals before being snapped up by Bayern Munich in the summer of 2015 for a reported €7 million. The rest as they say is history.

While at Leipzig, he played alongside and formed a friendship with current midfielder Diego Demme. The two will come face-to-face on Saturday, but Demme has been reminiscing about his time alongside Kimmich and was full of praise for the Bayern right-back/ defensive midfielder.

“He exudes an unbelievable sense of calm in all situations, and finds solutions at the drop of a hat,” Demme told 11Freude ahead of Leipzig’s showdown with the defending champions.

“Even under pressure and in tight challenges, he still manages to find a man. It’s so impressive. He’s also got a serious winners’ mentality. He’s become more of a goal threat and has got a lot of assists since moving to right-back, but he can direct the game from midfield,” the Leipzig veteran explained.

“We were always swooning over midfielders back in the day. We used to watch clips on YouTube before matches, I’d watch Andrea Pirlo and he’d watch ones of Xavi.”

Praise indeed, but nothing we didn’t already know.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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